I came, I (never) saw, I (still) conquered

“Hasan Tayem, 24 years old, is a successful Jordanian professional blind runner.”


My friends describe me as a highly motivated and passionate individual who desires to be a force to change and improve people’s lives around the world. I was born blind and I believe that technology will one day help the 285 million visually impaired people in the world to see and feel the light again.


Since I was in high school, I thought about positioning myself to contribute to the communities and neighborhoods that I belonged and genuinely cared. I received several training programs and created several voluntary activities that encouraged disabled students to take their part in their communities and schools. Since I got involved in sports in high school, I became professional when I joined the university of Jordan, and biggest and the most important change on my life started. I started to challenge people’s misconception and stereotypes about people with disability. I tried my very best to raise awareness of the problems that visually impaired people face in Jordan. I encouraged people with disability for greater and higher level of participation by in the society. By employing sports, I could talk to the public in Jordan in more impactful and effective way about the need to change in people’s attitude and ignorance towards the people with disability.

My love for athletics stems from its suitability for everyone. It allows everyone to show their capability to full potential no matter who they are. Additionally, sport can be a lifestyle and present a business opportunity as it connected me to an innovative and enterprising lifestyle at a very early stage of my life. As I have mentioned before, I am a professional blind runner, and running has been one of the most valuable approaches when it comes to normalizing attitudes towards people with disabilities. I earned many running competitions across the world. In Jordan, the Middle East and Asia, I ran Amman Marathon, Dubai Marathon, Beirut Marathon, the Para Asian championship and many more. My another plan for running is to qualify for Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. Youth, sport, education, and coursework training have always kept me going.


Two years ago, I graduated from the University of Jordan with a Bachelor’s degree, double majoring in Italian and English Languages. I studied languages believing that it would help me to understand different cultures. Studying at the University of Jordan was a wonderful life changing experience for me. It provided me with the chance to run, as well as a chance to take up more challenges. Everywhere I went, I felt the need to address people’s prejudice against visually impaired people. School campus was not an exception. With each new class, I took the opportunity to help students and professors to understand better about visually impaired people by initiating to talk about some stereotypes associated with people with disabilities. I wanted them to know that I could do the same things they did. But really, when I told people about me and my achievements, I wanted them to come to the realization that, just like I was living my life productively, blind people were as capable as sighted people in terms of integrity and work ethics. I felt that we as a society should think about the conventional way of unnecessarily polite consideration and ignorant misconception about people in disability in general. People with disability must have the right to dream bigger and better and have the equal access to everything that is available to people with no disability.

Studying at the university also means that I could use the platform to gain more work experiences from a personal level to organizational level. Sometime after I became a student, I started to offer my help to everyone who might benefit from my knowledge on technology, Disability rights advocacy, mobility training skills. I built a lasting charity relationship with local as well as international organizations, such as UNICEF Jordan, Generations for Peace, UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund, East and West Center for Sustainable Development, Be My Eyes, and many more.


My work experience started in my second year of my study. First, I started to work as a freelancer in numerous fields. I also worked as a translator, Brand ambassador, accessibility assistant and sound engineer. In 2021, I worked as a Disability Inclusion Officer on both Adolescents and HR at UNICEF Jordan for 6 months. It was a great enjoyment to work with UNICEF, but eventually leave them as I became a recipient of an Italian government scholarship and needed to enroll myself for a Master’s degree here in Italy. Currently I am studying at University of Padua, where I will earn my Master’s degree in Human Rights and Multi-level Governance. I am looking forward to taking advantage of my new study and being even more involved in the international human rights movement.


In my free time, I travel. As I travel, I enjoy learning about different traditions and cultures. Traveling is one more way to better understand the wider world. Lastly, I would like to say to everyone that we should all stand to work with each other. In our world there is still a lot more work to be done for everyone to live in peace, love, and joy.


My story including my achievements and plans will not end here. To learn more about me, you can visit my website,

hasantayem.com

and it will direct you to all my other social media accounts.


Written by Hasan Tayem

Edited by Alex Frattin

Pictures courtesy of: Hasan Tayem

 

Hasan is a first year student at the Human Rights & Multilevel Governance Master Degree in Padua. He has a burning passion for equality and non-discrimination rights, particularly applied to the rights of disabled persons.

 

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